Tonawanda News

October 6, 2013

OUR VIEW: A note on local elections

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — With voters in each of our communities beginning to grapple with the issues important to them in local municipal elections next month, we’re heartened candidates have sought to use this page to reach those readers. But in the interest of fairness to all candidates, we thought it would be prudent to set some ground rules.

Due to the large number of submissions we’ve received already — a trend that’s unlikely to ebb as the election draws closer — we’ve notified all candidates who have submitted letters to the editor or guest view columns they are limited to a single submission between now and Election Day. The same will go for all candidates seeking to use this space.

Additionally, all submissions must be issue-oriented. That means they should address one or a series of issues relevant to voters here. Please, spare us the laundry lists of political endorsements and boiler plate “vote for me” slogans. These elections are important and this page is an important tool for those seeking office to make their views known. 

Candidates wishing to avail themselves of this opportunity can do so by emailing submissions directly to Managing Editor Eric DuVall at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com. 

Readers should know submissions are edited for length, grammar and, where appropriate, clarity.

As Election Day approaches we will notify candidates via a note on this page of the cut-off date for submissions, beyond which we cannot guarantee — or may explicitly deny — a submission will be printed.

Additionally, we have in the past and will continue to issue candidate endorsements. After a pilot program two years ago, this board altered the way by which we reach those conclusions. The process of offering 30 minute interviews to all candidates — which can take up to 40 hours in interview time alone while considering council races in three municipalities, two counties and two mayoral elections — became too cumbersome. It also proved repetitive. We cover these races in considerable depth and, where North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda are concerned, we host our own candidate debates in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce where the issues we discuss in private are later aired in public. 

So, as was the case two years ago, we will use the sum total of our newspaper’s coverage and candidates’ responses during our forums to reach conclusions in our endorsement process. 

We will announce the dates and locations of the forums, which are open to the public, next week.

And finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to address our readers, the voters who will decide these elections. Please, be engaged decision-makers. This coverage is invaluable in helping you to cast informed ballots next month. The presidential elections grab a lot of headlines — and always draw more voters to the polls — but these are the races and offices more than any other that affect your daily lives. 

We hope you take your civic duty seriously.